We need to talk about a particular type of white leftist man

Ok… so I want to talk about a particular type of white guy. A guy I have unfortunately met time and time again in the Left.

When you first meet him, you’ll probably find him reading books about Malcolm X.
Appreciating Reggae, Jazz and possibly Hip Hop.
He’s informed about politics and history.
He’s attracted to women of colour.
He believes that being with a black woman, having black friends or simply having black people in his proximity disqualifies anything he says from being considered racist.
He doesn’t believe white privilege exists.
Race is a distraction…. even though he often says casually racist things.
He’ll talk about the civil rights movement, but rarely ask you about your personal experiences with racism.
He preaches… Oh and I tell you this man preaches. You let him run his mouth long enough and he’ll end up telling you what your black identity is.
He believes that we live in the 21st century and that racism in the West no longer exists.
Even when he does acknowledge that racism or white privilege exists, he needs you to understand that it’s really class that we need to focus on.
He disagrees with Black Lives Matter.
If you try to contradict him, or disagree he’ll draw attention to your “narrow-mindedness”.

He may talk about his travels to Asia and South America, but has never been to Africa, because Africa isn’t safe for white people. This is not necessarily always the case, because you often do find him travelling to or living in Africa.

There has been a lot of talk about how vocal Black Lives Matter have been lately. But I think we should take a moment to talk about the silence instead. We should talk about how often black people have to take silence as the best course of action. It happens all the time. At work, at times with white friends, white family or even a white partner. We do this to survive and avoid making white people uncomfortable. We may even do this to pass as acceptable. Very often, we are forced to carry the weight of ignorance and racism on our backs in silence.

Writing this wasn’t easy and I rarely do this… but the weight of it all just got too heavy to carry. If you are this guy and you feel this post has had a negative effect on you, please stop to think about how the long term silence has negatively affected us. I’m not saying that you can’t speak your mind. I’m just hoping that maybe next time, before you start running your mouth, you’ll actually take the time to stop and listen.

Sandra Hamalwa


Photo: Fields of Light Photography